Tuesday Tea Time Thoughts: Culling The Christmas Card List

Cherished readers, while meeting with her dear friends at their weekly tea-time gathering, the subject of the etiquette of culling the Christmas Card list. Specifically,  the protocol to choosing who gets the boot.

Well, of course there is a protocol (in The Lady’s humble opinion)

When The Lady was growing up, she often heard her grandmother and mother say that the best way to reduce the number of names on the Christmas Card list was to keep track of who one sent cards the year before and if they did not sent one back, they were stricken from the list. Blackballed from holiday greetings. This has been the technique that the Lady has used in her adult life. She remembers one fine Yuletide when she had mailed out 121 holiday greetings only to receive 28 back. Needless to say, that year was a huge cull!

“But, dear Lady, ” you may ask, “what if I strike someone from my list who will be offended?” If they send you a card, send one to them. But, it has become increasingly more obvious that people WANT to cut down on their lists. So they will probably not be offended.

Best Card Sending Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

PS: The Lady apologizes for the appalling lack of posts. Lord Hooper-Brackett has had more cardiac issues in the last two months. Today (11/21/17) he is having bypass surgery. The Lady hopes to post more after this health issue is over!



Wedding Wednesday: Addressing Invitations ‘And Family’

Cherished readers, today’s Wedding Wednesday concerns the issuing of one’s invitations to the fabulous nuptial ceremony and reception. It is often asked of The Lady if it is acceptable to add ‘And Family’ or ‘And Guest’ when addressing the envelopes. Etiquette-wise this is a no-no and The Lady personally abhors this practice. When she was a young lady, many invitations used to come to the house inviting her parents to weddings and on all of the envelopes, the words ‘And Family’ were included. This made The Lady sad because it seemed no one cared enough to remember that she actually had a name. Do you wish to make someone feel that you don’t care enough to remember their name but sincerely request the honor of their presence on your big day? The message is incongruous.

Also, your idea of what constitutes family may not be the same as the one receiving the invitation. The person receiving the invitation may invite their second-cousin twice removed just because there will be an open bar. Being specific on your invitation is much smarter.

The Lady advises the following when issuing invitations:

For couples not living together or married, address it to the party that is best known to you. For example, if it is your cousin Cathy that you are close to address it:

Miss Cathy Cousin and Mr. Alfred Snodgrass

followed by Cathy’s address. Do not write the impersonal ‘And Guest’

Send a joint invitation to married/cohabiting couples. Should they have daughters living in the home that you wish to invite, you may include them on the couples’ invitation. The outer envelope is written out in the format below (names and addresses are fictitious)

Mr./Mrs. and Mr./Mrs. Phoebus Cornelius Bicuspid

The Misses Bicuspid

1313 Mockingbird Lane

Quahog, RI 02896

If there are sons living in the home, they get their own joint invitation, with the outer envelope written as below:

The Messrs. Bicuspid

(same address format as above)

On the inner envelope (the one in which the actual invitation and reply card are safely housed) you would write out each name, as below

Mr. Phoebus Bicuspid

Mrs. Fiona Bicuspid

Miss Esmerelda Bicuspid

Miss Ann Bicuspid

and for the sons’ inner envelope:

Mister Figaro Bicuspid

Mister Jack Bicuspid

The bottom line for The Lady: only invite those that you mean to invite and know the name of those you invite.

Best Invitation Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett


A Most Unusual Thank You Note

Cherished readers, The Lady attended two weddings in the merry month of June. Both couples are the children of family friends. The Lady has received thank you notes from both of the fine couples and I give them both high marks for their courtesy in sending the notes so promptly. However, one of the notes stuck out to me for all of the wrong reasons. Let’s take a look:

Lord Hooper-Brackett and I gifted this duo with a fine set of Waterford crystal goblets, which were listed in the bride’s registry.  I was pleased to purchase such a tasteful gift for these young people. This is the text of the thank you note I received:

Dear Lady Hooper-Brackett,

Napoleon and I would like to thank you for the beautiful goblets. I’m sorry to tell you that we received three other sets so we had to exchange your set for some dessert plates that we didn’t get. I wanted you to know so that if you come over for dinner, you will be proud to know that the dessert plates were from you and Lord Hooper-Brackett.

Thank you again and we look forward to seeing you both soon. 


As you can see, the honesty of the note is quite apparent, as well as the newlywed’s need to have some etiquette lessons. But I shall be magnanimous and make some allowances for her forthright rudeness. I will also avoid advising her that all she needed to do was go ahead and exchange the goblets without letting me know. I would have assumed the set that she displayed on her table was the one I had given her. No harm done and everyone wins. Instead….she became a lesson in what not to do.

Best Courteous Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett


The Lady’s Guide To Basic Letter Writing

Cherished readers, mail time at The Hooper-Brackett estate is one of the Lady’s favorite times of the day. It is when I can hope that there will be a bona-fide, handwritten letter from a cultured and thoughtful friend. Ahhh the joy of seeing pen to paper, rather than the electronic typing of an email. The Lady understands that email and digital communications are necessary, but there are times that a handwritten letter is a must! I will discuss greeting cards in another post.

I will not be covering different types of letters in today’s entry, merely going over the supplies and accoutrements that you should have when sitting down to pen a letter.

  1. Use real, honest-to-goodness paper. Not a torn out notebook sheet or recycled envelopes (horrors!)
  2. Make sure the paper is of the best quality that you can afford and be sure it is of a conservative color. Gray, Ecru, White, or a Light Blue are all acceptable. Remember, letter-writing is for all occasions. You may be writing a condolence letter and certainly do not want to only have on hand a red or other festive paper. Also, if you are penning business correspondence, conservative is the way to go.
  3. If you choose to personalize your paper, please omit any cutesy designs and choose a conservative font.
  4. The pen and ink you use matters! The Lady is fond of rollerball  and fountain pens. Continuing in the conservative vein…ink should be black or blue, though The Lady is a fan of black ink for all things. Red pen is for correcting tests.
  5. Beautiful stamps are the finishing touch to the correspondence. If the post office does a series on flowers, these are wonderful for all letters. As much as The Lady appreciates cartoons and commemorative TV show stamps (a la Star Trek etc..) these are not truly appropriate.
  6. Preprinted labels are fine for mailing a bill payment, but handwriting your return address is best on all social correspondence. Incidentally, clear seals are acceptable to seal an ungummed envelope, but avoid childlike stickers.
  7. Please, for the love of all that is neat and sweet, DO NOT load glitter, sequins, confetti or anything that will drop out of the envelope and make a mess when the person opens the envelope.
  8. Try to cultivate a neat handwriting. The Lady is from the Dark Ages when the Palmer Method was taught in school and under the stern, perfectionistic gaze of the nuns at her Catholic school, she developed her penmanship. The Lady believes that ALL schools should teach this lost art once more. It adds polish.
  9. A good writing desk is a must with all the aforementioned tools within arm’s reach.

And there you have it. Let there be more thoughtful letter writing and less emailing going forward!!!

Best Letter Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Writing Thank You Notes: Someone Gave Me a Gift of Money.

Good day, cherished readers. Today let us examine the proper procedure for writing a note thanking someone for their gift of money (or even a gift card, as this is also common) I have included a sample letter after my basic guidelines.

The Lady Hooper-Brackett believes that a true and proper letter…pen and paper!…is the only way to thank the person who has sent you a gift. No texting or emailing.

The amount of money gifted to you is never mentioned, no matter how large it may be. It is proper to say what you intend to use the money for and you may also include some comments on life or inquire after the person you are writing to.

A sample letter:

Dear Mrs. Booboo,

Thank you so much for thinking of me on my birthday! I have deposited your gift in my living room furniture fund for when I move out in the fall. I hope you will come visit me when I am in my new apartment. I am excited to have my very own place!

How are you and Mr. Booboo? I hope your own move to Miami went smoothly and that Mr. Booboo is doing well at his new job.

Thank you again for your generous gift. I hope to see you soon!

With love,

Susie Grateful

As you can see, the note needn’t be long, but it must be sincere. In addition to expressing thanks, Susie asked after Mr. and Mrs. Booboo as she remembered t is nice to recall details about others. Susie gets high marks from the Lady Hooper-Brackett.

Best thankful wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett